Monday, December 15, 2014

style crush: emma watson


It really shouldn't be any surprise to anyone that one of my very favorite literary females is the brilliant Hermione Granger from the Harry Potter series. While I am generally less than enthused about the film adaptations of those books, they did a few things right. Like casting. They brought these characters to life, which in turn brought the lovely Emma Watson (and many others) into our lives. 

I love Emma for many reasons. Of course it's easy to say that celebrities in general are "flawless" and while I know that descriptor is untrue for all of them, it's one of the first words that comes to mind when I think of her. Perhaps a better word would be "genuine". I appreciate her style as well as her mind, which has guided her propensity for education and meaningful action. She really is the Hermione Granger of our dreams. 

(Also, she was my original inspiration for the pixie cut. She rocked it.) 

Her style is classic. In general I'm always appreciative of her modesty and her playfulness. She is one of the only people on the planet that I would say does justice to a pair of overalls. She has great hair (at any length) and gives me great dress envy whenever I see her on the red carpet.

I always feel honestly happy to see her, as if she's a friend of whom I'm proud and excited for. My chances of meeting her ever in real life are slim to none, but I'd like to think we could be friends. That's one of the best part of celebrity crushes, filling in the gaps of what we don't know and appreciating the pieces that we do.

sources 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5

If you've been out and about in the world this year, you'll certainly have heard of her speech back in September for the UN about the HeForShe campaign. It triggered a lot of personal reflection for me, especially since I am admittedly one of those people who tries not to flinch every time I hear the word "feminism". I think it's overused, misunderstood, and often misapplied to man-hating which I absolutely do not support. I do, however, support gender equality and have a great desire to break down some of the gender biases that have been placed in my psyche rather unconsciously for most of my life. 

It's not just a woman issue, either. Which is what HeForShe is all about. For instance, I've never understood why men can't cry or communicate their emotions. If they do they are horribly shamed for it, as if it somehow strips them of their manhood. As if there is an actual "right way" to be a man. I love this quote from Emma's speech which highlight these issues:

Men, I would like to take this opportunity to extend your formal invitation. Gender equality is your issue, too. Because to date, I’ve seen my father’s role as a parent being valued less by society, despite my need of his presence as a child, as much as my mother’s. I’ve seen young men suffering from mental illness, unable to ask for help for fear it would make them less of a man. In fact, in the UK, suicide is the biggest killer of men between 20 to 49, eclipsing road accidents, cancer and coronary heart disease. I’ve seen men made fragile and insecure by a distorted sense of what constitutes male success...

Both men and women should feel free to be sensitive. Both men and women should feel free to be strong. It is time that we all perceive gender on a spectrum, instead of two sets of opposing ideals. If we stop defining each other by what we are not, and start defining ourselves by who we are, we can all be freer, and this is what HeForShe is about. It’s about freedom.

Women and men undeniably have individual and unique strengths and talents and roles to play in the family unit and in society as a whole, but I think her words are so spot on. There are intrinsic biases imbedded in our societal upbringing, and her words shed a light on several of them. 

I think it's dangerous to reject a word (and especially its movement/intended meaning) out of hand, and "feminism" is one of those that I think is often tossed aside and easily mocked. I feel the same about the race issues that are plaguing our country at the moment. I think it's a very dangerous, reckless, hurtful reaction to just say, "This doesn't apply to me" or "this is stupid". I've seen a whole spectrum of observations and comments, and I've chosen to remain silent. To listen, examine my heart, be patient and compassionate and empathetic. We all have issues and biases, and the knee-jerk reaction of "who cares?" is a bad place to start healing them. (Really appreciate Jen Hatmaker's words on this). 

So all of that to say, I love Emma Watson. I appreciate her heart for people, which is one of the many reasons I chose her for my style crush post today. I am grateful for her words and her challenging thoughts.

I am also grateful for, of course, the opportunity to "meet" her as Hermione Granger, and watch her grow into the character I know and love so dearly.


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